Blu-ray Review: Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series



When the rumor first spread that Twin Peaks was coming back, I wasn’t too thrilled. We’d been teased before when the internet went nuts thinking a call for actors to be part of a bonus features interview for the Twin Peaks Blu-ray was the real deal. But then word got out that David Lynch and Mark Frost were serious about going back to follow up the cryptic message from Laura Palmer about seeing her in 25 years. And I was excited and braced for a massive letdown. I was completely bored watching Lynch’s Inland Empire movie. Over the years I’ve chatted with a few people involved in the production of Twin Peaks and all talked about how Lynch distanced himself from the series after the first season and especially when ABC forced him to reveal Laura Palmer’s killer. The show was adrift with cast members suggesting plot twists during lunch breaks. In barely a year it went from revolutionary TV to taping episodes in EP speed. Over the decades I’ve come to enjoy even the bad episodes thanks to DVD boxsets. But could Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series come close the original rush or bring back the disappointment?

Lynch and Frost could have gone the easy way with a twisted version of Return to Mayberry. The audience could have been taken to the small town in Washington for another trip with the quirky characters that are a little older and perhaps their kids just like they did with Full House. But then word leaked out that Lynch and Frost hadn’t written a bunch of episodic scripts. There was one huge script and they’d shape episodes out of the finished film. And Lynch was going to be the only director. This project wasn’t going to be the normal TV show even for Showtime standards. During the production, the only details to get released was a cast list that showed so many of the original had signed up. While normally a series leaks out nearly every detail to get eyeballs on opening night, there was a mum nature. But then again, most of David Lynch’s projects are spoiler proof and impossible to describe easily. Can anyone spoil Eraserhead? Can anyone figure out Lost Highway? The only real detail that mattered was what day would Showtime debut this “third” season of Twin Peaks. That night I sat down in front of Showtime and in two hour’s time, the world changed.

Is there really a point in describing the 18 episodes except to call them groundbreaking in narrative and visual structure for a TV show on cable? This is pure David Lynch (and Mark Frost) as he taps into his cinematic history and leaps forward into a new imaginative and nightmarish frontier. He combines his sweet Americana of cherry pies with the dark twisted underbelly of shotgun blasts. He takes us into the heart of an atomic blast and around a fantastical world. He has a character enter a room via the electrical outlet. We are brought into the familiar and launches into the bizarre. The old characters come to terms with their past and new characters learn their destinations. Plus he has Nine Inch Nails (or The Nine Inch Nails as the MC introduces them at the Roadhouse).

Do you want a little hint? The final episode of the original Twin Peaks had Agent Cooper (Blue Velvet‘s , Kyle MacLachlan) in the Black Lodge where he gets stuck when an evil doppelganger slips back into the Great Northern Hotel. Now 25 years later, Cooper has a chance to escape the Lodge, but he must find his evil twin since only one of them can exist on Earth.

After 27 years of hearing so many TV shows called “Lynchian” by lazy critics, Lynch returned to the small screen and put them to shame. This is what happens when Lynch doesn’t have to compromise to a network censor, answer to creative notes from junior executives, appease the advertisers or edit for a commercial break. This is a movie with musical interludes between sections. He is about to completely develop his mythology and cosmology on the screen without having to explain it.

Twin Peaks is a show that isn’t afraid of dealing with mortality. The actors aren’t made up to look like their younger selves. Twenty five years have passed. Many actors are either brought back from the dead or passed away during the production including Harry Dean Stanton, David Bowie and Catherine E. Coulson, the Log Lady. This is a revival of a show that doesn’t want to merely transport you back in waves of nostalgia. Ultimately Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series isn’t merely a TV series, but the masterwork of Lynch’s career as a filmmaker.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer is necessary to get sucked into the images. The atomic blast scene demands the resolution. The audio is 5.1 Dolby TrueHD. Lynch uses all of your speakers to suck you into the image. The series is subtitled in English.

Impressions: A Journey Behind the Scenes of Twin Peaks are a series of 10 documentary films made by Jason S. about the making of the series in a very artsy manner. This would have been a fun series to run on IFC if they were still into showing artsy projects. The titles include The Man with the Grey Elevated Hair (29:40), Tell it Martin (29:08), Two Blue Balls (24:14), The Number of Completion (29:17), Bad Binoculars (28:08), See You on the Other Side Dear Friend (30:00), Not Pick Up Hitchhikers (26:44), A Bloody Finger in Your Mouth (26:49), The Polish Accountant (28:05) and A Pot of Boiling Oil (38:32). This gives a really sharp view of the more intriguing sets.

Twin Peaks panel at Comic-Con 2017 (61:33) opens with a cryptic video introduction from David Lynch that includes an O.J. Simpson joke. The panel includes Kyle MacLachlan, Tim Roth, Dana Ashbrook, Kimmy Robertson, Matthew Lillard, Everett McGill, James Marshall, Don Murray and Naomi Watts, and moderator Damon Lindelof.

Showtime’s Twin Peaks: The Phenomenon is a three part documentary that covers Creation (4:40), Life After Death (4:50) and Renaissance (4:50) of the show. It talks about why people are still attracted to the show.

Behind-the-scenes Photo Gallery has plenty of photographs from the location including Lynch hanging with Harry Dean Stanton.

Rancho Rosa Logos (2:25) has all 18 versions of the Rancho Rose Productions intro.

David Lynch produced Twin Peaks promos that aired on Showtime include Piano (1:02), Donut (:32), Woods (:32), People (:32), Places (:32), Albert (1:02) and In– cinema (1:32). They are more moody than exposing what’s in the show.

Behind the Red Curtain (29:23) is a visit to the Red Room and Sheriff Truman office sets.

I Had Bad Milk in Dehradun (28:13) has Kyle, the red curtains and iconic floor.

A Very Lovely Dream: One Week in Twin Peaks (27:10) is directed by Charles de Lauzirika about the cast and crew returning to the locations of North Bend and Snoqualmie of the Twin Peaks pilot movie to make the new series.

Crew List (4:02) is the mega scroll of contributors.

CBS DVD and Showtime present Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series. Directed by: David Lynch. Written by: Mark Frost & David Lynch. Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Tim Roth, Dana Ashbrook, Kimmy Robertson, Matthew Lillard, Everett McGill, James Marshall, Don Murray and Naomi Watts. Boxset Contents: 16 Episodes on 8 Blu-ray discs. Released: December 5, 2017.

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